Local News

CLEAN UP—HAPPY VALLEY

CLEAN UP CONTINUES—AFTER HEAVY RAINS AGAIN FLOODED THE BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL FIELDS AT HAPPY VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL IN ELIZABETHTON.  CREWS ARE PULLING LOGS AND DEBRIS OUT OF BUFFALO CREEK—WHICH HELPED FORM A DAM THAT LED TO THE FLOODING.  IN FEBRUARY, BOTH FIELDS SUSTAINED HEAVY FLOOD DAMAGE.  BOTH TEAMS HAVE HAD TO PLAY GAMES ELSEWHERE FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON. AN INSURANCE CHECK WILL PAY TO COMPLETELY REDO THE FIELDS AND REPLACE FENCING.

MAN AIRLIFTED AFTER CRASH

A WEDNESDAY CRASH IN HAWKINS COUNTY REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.  A MAN HAD TO BE AIRLIFTED TO A HOSPITAL—AFTER CRASHING HIS TRUCK INTO A PHYSICAL THERAPY BUSINESS IN ROGERSVILLE.  THE TRUCK WAS TRAVELING WESTBOUND ON HIGHWAY 11-W NEAR PARK BOULEVARD WHEN THE DRIVER DROPPED HIS CELL PHONE.  AS HE WAS REACHING FOR IT, THE TRUCK VEERED ACROSS THE EASTBOUND LANES, DOWN A STEEP EMBANKMENT AND INTO THE BACK OF CHEROKEE PHYSICAL THERAPY.  NO ONE INSIDE THE BUSINESS WAS INJURED, BUT THE DRIVER WAS FLOWN TO HOLSTON VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER.

SULLIVAN SCHOOL BUDGET

THE PROPOSED 2020 BUDGET FOR THE SULLIVAN COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM IS $83.2-MILLION DOLLARS—AND THAT’S AN $800-THOUSAND DOLLAR REDUCTION FROM THE CURRENT YEAR.  HOWEVER, THE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS ASKING THE COUNTY COMMISSION TO RESTORE $1.6-MILLION DOLLARS IN RENOVATION MONEY THAT HAD BEEN CUT—AS THERE’S A LONG LIST OF MAINTENANCE PROJECTS.  ALSO, THE BOARD PLANS TO TAKE $580-THOUSAND DOLLARS THAT HAD BEEN USED TO REPAY ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAM BONDS—AND USE THAT MONEY FOR EXPENSES FOR THE NEW SULLIVAN EAST MIDDLE SCHOOL, SULLIVAN EAST AND SULLIVAN NORTH HIGH SCHOOLS.  THOSE BONDS HAVE BEEN RETIRED.

TDOT—ROUTE 66

THE TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION HAS SCHEDULED RIGHT-OF-WAY ACQUISITION FOR 2022—FOR IMPROVING STATE ROUTE 66 SOUTH IN HAWKINS COUNTY.  THE PROJECT HAS BEEN A PRIORITY FOR HAWKINS COUNTY OFFICIALS FOR ABOUT 20 YEARS.  NOW, THE PROJECT IS LISTED IN T-DOT’S THREE-YEAR PLAN.  AFTER LAND ACQUISITION IS COMPLETE, IT’LL TAKE ABOUT 3 YEARS TO FINISH THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENGINEERING ASPECT OF THE PROJECT, FOLLOWED BY THE LETTING OF BIDS.  ACTUAL CONSTRUCTION COULD BE ABOUT 5 YEARS IN THE FUTURE—AND THE OVERALL COST IS PROJECTED AT $32.4-MILLION DOLLARS.

SHOOTING MIGHT BE SELF-DEFENSE

A WEEKEND SHOOTING IN UNICOI COUNTY REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION, BUT IT COULD BE SELF-DEFENSE.  LARRY JUNIOR MORTON DIED AT A HOME ON SIMERLY CREEK ROAD.  MORTON AND A NEIGHBOR WERE IN A DISPUTE AS MORTON APPARENTLY THOUGHT THE MAN WAS SAYING THINGS ABOUT HIM—AND HE WENT TO THE MAN’S HOUSE AND PULLED A GUN.  THE NEIGHBOR THEN FIRED SHOTS.  MORTON WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.

REGIONAL BRANDING

EFFORTS CONTINUE TO RE-BRAND THE GREATER TRI-CITIES AREA.  IT ENCOMPASSES MORE THAN JUST JOHNSON CITY, KINGSPORT AND BRISTOL—AND SULLIVAN COUNTY MAYOR RICHARD VENABLE SAYS IT’S KEY TO KNOW HOW THE NAME PLAYS OUTSIDE OF THE AREA, “IF YOU’VE GOT A GOOD IDEA AND I HAVE A GOOD IDEA, HOW DOES IT TEST IN ST. LOUIS?”  A NASHVILLE FIRM IS WORKING ON THAT NEW IDENTITY.  IT’S EXPECTED TO BE ROLLED OUT LATER IN THE YEAR.